Richard Porter blog – Getting It Right For Every Child

girfec_logo_normal-300x175Listening to Aileen Campbell, the Minister for Children and Young People, at the National Parent Forum of Scotland’s Annual Conference, it was good to hear that the Scottish Government approach is to support ‘Getting It Right For Every Child’.

Most children will have a life event like an illness or bereavement in their family during their time at school and, whilst the family will support the young person through it, the school and sometimes other agencies will have an important role to play as well.

This may be by supporting learning in different ways, perhaps by sending class work home, if the child is unable to attend school.  Whilst this of course may already happen at school, the difference will be that the child will be at the heart of all these decisions and the Named Person will lead staff in supporting this. Some children will have an additional support within schools for a variety of reasons: disabilities, separation of family, or English as an additional language, to name but a few.

The important message from a parent perspective is that one person,the Named Person, will be responsible for ensuring our young people are supported when they need it. Sometimes a Lead Professional  will co-ordinate multi-agency support, but the Named Person will always be the point of contact for families.

Too often the parent has to do the running to get the support. By putting the child first, all stakeholders, including parents, will be at the heart of the discussion along with health visitors, schools and other agencies so that children can get the support that they need.

Richard Porter


Further information on Getting It Right For Every Child is available via the Scottish Government’s Wellbeing magazine


Have your say

Join in the discussion and help us make Scottish Education even better.

  • Macmillan

    And the comments about GIRFEC kept getting buried with nary a reply to any of the questions or points raised.

    • Andy

      They are still looking for a politically correct way to telling us that we are now only seen as breeders by the SNP . The state is now the parent .

  • Andy

    Our time will come very soon. The SNP will live to rue the day they tried force their narrow minded separatist view on the children of this country . The referendum and elections are coming soon and if they refuse to listen to us now lets see what they have to say for themselves then .

    As the saying goes … "what goes around comes around"

    "First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win." ~ Mahatma Gandhi

  • Andy

    Do this SNP govt think that because they are the biggest party they can just ride roughshod over the rights and wishes of the Scottish people ? Oh boy that will end well .

    I must admit the first time i read about this it didn't concern me after all i don't batter or neglect my kids but the more i look into it the more i dont like it. The final straw for me is when we have some of the finest legal minds in this country telling the govt that this is a serious intrusion on the right of the people and they simply ignore it . Reading through the actual debate minutes the minister who introduced this nightmare didn't even acknowledge the fact that there is massive legal opposition to parts of this bill and the clear warnings that this could be open for judicial review as well as the possibility of ECHR challenges . That just shows a staggering amount of ignorance from the SNP.

    As has been asked numerous times , why is there a need to for this for every family ? Teachers already have a legal duty to raise any concerns that they have.

    The function of the named person is to collect / mine information about the family and all associated adults without consent. Im not a child and a named person will not tell me what is best for me and my family i dont care if i know them or not.



    The only way that this proposal will be accepted by the Scottish parents is if the named person is optional or opt in / opt out .

    It will make no difference to kids who do need help because they should already be known to the system and if they arent then the protection systems that look for them need to be dealt with , but bringing everyone under the same umbrella is basically labelling all parents as abusers and is fundamentally wrong.

    Then there is the issue about the cost…

    Isnt it the case that wasting money by spying on all families will take money away from the kids who actually need it ? Bearing in mind that since the referendum kicked off Mr Salmond has been on tv pledging amongst other things to re-nationalize royal mail , keep retirement pension age the same instead of increasing it , So some big important questions needs asked and answered ….

    How much will it cost ? Where is all the money coming from ? Oh that's right those same people who you have just stripped of their privacy and autonomy.

    Ive said enough now as im starting to get very angry. Im actually pretty disgusted by all this and cannot believe that we are seeing something as potentially nasty as this in a land that has a proud history for personal freedoms.


    R.I.P Privacy and personal freedoms.

  • Alison

    After reading about this and reading the opinions both for and against i'd like to ask some questions and it would be good if someone from either engage or the govt / snp would answer these questions honestly without any political jargon.

    1. If a child or parent visits a health professional with a confidential medical query, will that be shared via the named person with all those involved with the child?

    2. Is this the end of confidential provision of birth control for a young person? , or the end of confidential help for a parent seeking treatment for a mild mental illness?

    3. If a spurious allegation is made against a parent, how will the parent know and what will be the facility for parents / families to put the record straight?

    4. If a child misbehaves at school will that information be passed on to all professionals involved with the child, to his/her embarrassment and potential future detriment?

    5. Who will decide whether information about parents’ political or religious affiliations should be shared?

    6. What happens when the rights and opinions of the parents and families and in conflict with the named person ?

    7. What safeguards are in place to prevent false positives / over zealous professionals?

  • Steve

    There is an interesting story thats related to this problem in Saturday's Daily record (2/11/2013) page 4 title "childsnatchers" .

    South Ayrshire council sent a threatening letter to a family threatening to evict them for the bedroom tax then take their kids from them . Apparently the council say its all part of their duties as a "corporate parent" . Which is part of this legislation . It proves that no matter what the SNP tell us ,how it is being implemented on the ground is completely different .

    This legislation is already being used the threaten and intimidate parents and the law hasnt even went through parliament yet and it wil get worse when this comes into affect Scotland wide .

    The boss of said council denied threatening families and is quoted as saying "That's clearly nonsense. Thats not the spirit or the intention of the services. It's quite the opposite .

    Any right minded individual may be wondering how he has came to this conclusion after reading the threatening letter (which was also printed) which contains comments like "If you have any children in your household we may also inform child services"

    The council is effectively saying "when we put you out on the street for not paying bedroom tax then will take your kids from you aswell"

    Absolutely disgraceful!!! So much for Mr Salmond's pledge that no scottish family would be evicted for not being able to pay the bedroom tax but to also threaten to take the children is shameful .

    "Do as we say or we'll take your kids"

    This legislation hasnt even become law yet and the local council nazi's are all ready threatening and bullying families . This is a sign of what is too come to the rest of scotland if this legislation passes .

  • Steve

    The post above raises a good point . This blog is called engage for education , but ive yet to see 1 person reply to any parental points, enquires or concerns . Is that the SNP's idea of engaging with the public ?

    I watched the GIRFEC stage 1 debate on tv recently where one of the criticisms levelled at the SNP was that they are failing to involve and talk to parents . The minister who introduced the nightmare agreed and said that they plan to talk to parents . But one question needs answered , are you only talking to parents who agree with this statist bill or do you plan on talking to all parents ?

    And if so when do you plan on doing this ? Before or after the bill is voted on ?

  • Macmillan

    I have no idea who Richard Porter is as the article fails to identify in what capacity he writes this piece of Scottish Government flannel. As a result i can only assume he is another of the many who do rather well out of contracts and make-weight jobs created by the SNP for those who dance to their tune. If Engage would like to live up to its promise for once and provide some information, rather than allow links to games and other dodgy websites to appear in the comment section, that would be helpful.

  • Diane

    An example of advice from a named person – I was advised by a health visitor to allow my 4 year old son out to play even though she is aware of a sex offender in our area. Now in my opinion she needs more education on the safety and wellbeing of children! Not more rights to tell parents what to do. Stop GIRFEC NOW!

  • Ian M

    This whole idea is based upon periodic assessments of parenting starting from before you even give birth and become a parent, defining children's "outcomes" and "wellbeing" with wheels and tick lists. "At risk" now doesn't even mean at risk at all – just not "perfect according to the tick lists", which is a standard 99% of us cannot achieve. We are yet to see the evidence to show that this works, but I can bet that like the triple P parenting thing it will be funded by whoever it is that's trying to push it out there. I am (like almost every single mum in the country) the best person to see to my children's wellbeing and if I have a problem there are already a huge number of people I could get in touch with to seek help. No state monitoring needed. Also, by the way, most of this article looks like it has been copied and pasted from the SNP's words where they all use the same standard passage on the benefits of the bill. I wonder if it was perchance an accident or did they write the article for you?

  • Sally

    It is surely a given that we all wish to see children well looked after. However, it is totally unnecessary, indeed quite absurd, to attempt to bring in legislation that will apply to all families. Apart from the scope for error and the vast waste of money this represents, it cannot but mean that attention is diverted from those relatively few children and families who really do need help. GIRFEC is a statist measure, instantly welcomed (suprise surprise) by those overbearing "charities" who always need to justify their reason to exist at all, never mind paying their senior staffs six and even seven figure sums.

  • McIntosh

    Mr Porter im quoting you saying this in the statement above>

    Most children will have a life event like an illness or bereavement in their family during their time at school and, whilst the family will support the young person through it, the school and sometimes other agencies will have an important role to play as well.

    What does a family bereavement or illness have to do with a school or "other agencies" ? Define "other agencies" ?

    If a child is absent from school though illness then the school already does send school work home so kids dont miss out . And a family bereavement is a personal thing for each family to deal with in their own way and the govt or named person or "other agencies" have no right to poke their noses into private family situations like this . Why dont you try putting yourself in this position . Would you like a stranger poking their noses into your private family life if you lose a member of your family ? as i certainly wouldn't!!

    Im quoting you again >

    Whilst this of course may already happen at school, the difference will be that the child will be at the heart of all these decisions and the Named Person will lead staff in supporting this.

    So what your saying here is that in the event of a family bereavement or illness the school or named person will take over and make all the decisions and the parents will not have any say in the matter ? after all the "named person" will lead (your words not mine)

    Im quoting you again >

    The important message from a parent perspective is that one person,the Named Person, will be responsible for ensuring our young people are supported when they need it.

    So now you've qualified yourself to speak for all parents in Scotland ? And your telling us that if a child needs support its not the job of the parents but actually the state ? after all your words clearly say "the Named Person, will be responsible for ensuring our young people are supported when they need it."

    What about the parents ? or do this SNP govt simply see us as breeders now ?

    That comment reveals the true intention of this snp govt and the state. This is nothing more than an attempt to usurp the rights of parents . And you lot should be bloody ashamed of yourselves . You dont own my child and if you think i'll stand by and let you take away my right to privacy and autonomy then you'll be in for a surprise .

    The quicker you lot are voted out of office the better it will be for everyone in this country .

  • B McIntosh

    This bill is a disgrace and is being forced onto the scottish people weather they like it or not . I have read several posts not only on this blog but on the govt website and from the minister who introduced this bill where they clearly state its not being forced onto parents , Really ? So the named person is optional then and parents have a real choice in this ?

    No they DO NOT and anyone who tries to say otherwise is a liar. By the very definition if you have no choice then it isnt optional and if it isnt optional then its compulsary , isnt it ?

    This is not acceptable . Im an adult and im perfectly capable of making the decisions that are best for me and my family. And i will NOT be told by any politician what to do . Lets be honest politicians are not the best people to tell anyone anything .

    If they are not awarding themselves pay rises when thousands are losing their jobs, or comitting domestic abuse by battering their wives and kids or making fraudlent expence claims that any normal person would be in jail for then they are spending public money and ignoring the law (FOIA) to try and it cover up. And you want us to take lessons from you lot ? Over my dead body !

  • David Wallace

    This is all part of the SNP sepratist agenda , hasnt anyone ever heard the saying Divide and rule?

    quote from wikipedia

    "In politics and sociology, divide and rule (or divide and conquer) (derived from Greek: διαίρει καὶ βασίλευε, diaírei kaì basíleue) is gaining and maintaining power by breaking up larger concentrations of power into pieces that individually have less power than the one implementing the strategy. The concept refers to a strategy that breaks up existing power structures and prevents smaller power groups from linking up."

    Sound familiar yet ?

    The divide part is coming soon with the referendum, the rule part , well just read "named person"… Check Mate.

  • sammy Ross

    This proposal amounts to nothing more than a national identity register . Why would the govt introduce a bill like this when msp's were so opposed to the id card system ? its basically the same thing being introduced under a different name . Only this time its even more sinister as its targetting children (heil alex mein furer)

    This is unacceptable!., DO YOU HEAR ME SNP !! If you want to play a game of wills with the eletorate then go ahead but i'll tell you now the by election at dunfermilne is only the start . More and more parents are waking up to the fact that this will strip them of their privacy and autonony and no matter how much propaganda and lilly livered doo gooding that we hear from you your days are numbered . The scottish people have very long memories (maggie thatcher anyone) and if this bill passes then scotland will never fogive you or the snp for introducing this orwellian nightmare on us .

    The campain against this bill will continue until the bill is dropped .


    PS: wheres the legal advice alex ? or are you waiting until you make an excuse for it , just like those tartan trooser ?

  • Bill Casey

    The scottish govt are opening themselves up to an avalanche of lawsuits if this passes as it written just now . They dont have the the authority to pass laws that are not data protection compliant.

    Under the terms of The Scotland act 1998, data protection and human rights are matters reserved for Westminster. The Act sets out the legislative competence of the Scottish Parliament. Rather than listing the matters over which the Scottish Parliament does control (devolved powers), it specifies the matters over which it does not (reserved matters). It further designates a list of statutes which are not amenable to amendment or repeal by the Parliament which includes the Human Rights Act 1998 and many provisions of the Scotland Act itself. Even when acting within its legislative competence, the Act further constrains the powers of the Parliament by inhibiting it from acting in a manner incompatible with the European Convention on Human Rights or European Community law. The same constraints apply to acts of the Scottish Executive. The Act grants the Secretary of State for Scotland power to direct the Scottish Government not to take any action which he has reasonable grounds to believe "would be incompatible with any international obligations" or to act where he believes such action "is required for the purpose of giving effect to any such obligations" The Act also sets up mechanisms to resolve disputes over questions about legislative competence of the Parliament and powers of the Executive. The ultimate appeal in such matters lies to the Supreme Court of the UK which has already declared similar legislation incompetent .

  • Linda Murray

    Sections 1.3 and 1.4 of the Privacy Impact Assessment do state the areas of risk,but there seems to be a suggestion that the impact problem is primarily one of security ,which is a fundamental misunderstanding of privacy and data protection.

    Section 2 of the assessment is superficial in its references to privacy risk–it is not at all clear that there is even a basic understanding of privacy, its nature and significance. This is compounded by the reference in section 2.8 to ”the eight data sharing principles of the Data Protection Act 1998."

    This description amounts to a serious and fundamental misunderstanding of data protection. The Principles apply to all aspects of data processing and are not there primarily to facilitate data sharing.

    The risks specified in section 3 and the risk register are overwhelmingly about security matters except for the first item which concerns diminution of trust threatening effective social work. Nowhere is there any consideration of the notion that privacy is about private ‘space’ to allow the development of the personality of the individual.

    The European Court of Human Rights has determined that “…the guarantee afforded by Article 8 of the Convention is
    primarily intended to ensure the development, without outside interference, of the personality of each individual in his relations with other human beings.”

    Data protection is not the same as privacy; nevertheless, the Privacy Impact Assessment is flawed and incomplete without having a proper understanding of the right to private life, nor can compliance with the fairness principle be properly addressed without understanding the nature of and the need for privacy. There are, of course, circumstances where a child’s right to privacy needs to be overridden in an effort to protect them from harm but the starting position must still be that the child / family has a right to a private life. As presently drafted, this Bill falls far short of that position by permitting and encouraging routine data sharing on all children and families.

    To be clear, while there are several alternatives to consent, every one of the alternatives has a requirement of necessity. This should be neither surprising nor objectionable: you can share information when you need to, and whether or not you need to, you can share information with permission.

    But the Data Protection Act simply does not allow – anywhere – for information to be shared without consent when it is not necessary to do so.

    It follows that any legislative provision which purports to allow information sharing which is neither consensual nor necessary, will fall foul of the Data Protection Act and the EU directive from which the Data Protection Act derives.

    Of course, the concerns about GIRFEC are that it does precisely that.

    Information sharing is not necessary because it is lawful; it is lawful when it is necessary.

  • Linda Murray

    This bill risks enshrining into law the ability for "strangers" to have unrestricted access to all kinds or sensitive/private information about all families . This is not only very alarming on a data protection point of view but also from a child safety concern . The potential for this information to be misused is very real and cannot sinply be swept aside by saying the PVG scheme has been strengenthed .

    Its a fact that this bill has no safeguards for data subjects despite this being a fundamental part of the current data protection legislation . It is a fact that this legislation has a very real potential to undermine families and diminish the rights of parents . It is a fact that this legislation has the potential to infringe the human rights of every family in Scotland .

    Section27 of this bill could be seen as an attempt to exercise the rights conferred by Article 5 of the Data Protection Directive in that it ”determines more precisely the conditions under which the processing of personal data is lawful”, or in some other way could be said to be an implied amendment of the Data Protection Act, then the bill is outwith the legislative competence of the Scottish Parliament as data protection is a reserved matter.

    The Privacy Impact Assessment which accompanied the Bill does not demonstrate an appreciation of the purpose and requirements of data protection legislation (nor,indeed,other aspects of human rights legislation.) The legislation is proposing a very significant change from the present situation where data may be shared if there is significant concern for the safety of a child to one where data must be shared if there is any concern regarding the child’s wellbeing. This concept is defined in very broad terms which will inevitably leave the matter open to subjective interpretation. In any event, should a mild concern regarding any aspect of ‘wellbeing’ justify acting in breach of a professional obligation of confidence?

    The assessment refers to the first data protection principle. However, most of the other principles are also of direct relevance and need to be considered especially in view of the proposal that all information relating to a child’s ‘wellbeing’ should be passed to the Named Person. What provisions are to be made regarding further disclosure (the 2nd data protection principle) ;the period of time for which the data is to be held (the 5th principle) or the technical and procedural security precautions that must be taken (the 8th principle)? There is no reference to the requirement that data must be processed taking account of the rights of the data subject, including provision for subject access by or on behalf of the data subject. This is likely to be of considerable significance in respect of requests being made by parents for access to data on behalf of a child, particularly in light of the exceptionally broad definition given to the term “parent” in education legislation.

  • Steven Douglas

    Comments submitted to this blog which do not support this legislation are being censored . Shame on you SNP .

    • Macmillan

      Welcome to the wonderful world of 'Engage', an SNP mouthpiece paid for by everyone in Scotland – with a mandate that effectively translates as "You say- and if our political masters don't like it- We censor"

  • Steven Douglas


    This part of the Bill dilutes the legal role of parents,whether or not there is any difficulty in the way that parents are fulfilling their statutory responsibilities. It undermines family autonomy. It provides a potential platform for interference with private and family life in a way that could violate article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights. There may be cases where a ‘named person’ will be of assistance but the provision is not focused on the children for whom the measure would be helpful and it does not cohere with other similar measures for such children.


    It is not necessary to violate the right to privacy and abrogate the data protection rights of all children and families in Scotland. The open transfer of data in the manner contemplated in the Bill represents a serious intrusion on individual rights. The data protection principles set out in the Data Protection Act 1998 were developed to secure an appropriate balance between the need to process information and the need to protect the rights of the subject or source of the information. It is not clear how that balance is achieved in these proposals, which may in any event relate to matters reserved to Westminster.